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Just arrived in Hong Kong - help!

(12 Posts)
bubbleandbubble Fri 10-May-13 08:26:29

We arrived in Hong Kong a few days ago. We have been in Sydney for the last 3 years so I am used to being away from home. We have visited HK several times, and travelled widely through Asia, admittedly pre kids. So I am surprised to find myself feeling so completely out of my depth. My 3 DCs start at Kellett in Kowloon Bay in September, so I know I am lucky in that respect (although its still a building site!)

What can I do and where should we go to help me feel excited about being here? There are only so many trips to M&S I can make! I know it will take time but right at the moment it feels as though leaving a mostly sunny Sydney was a big mistake.

Any ideas or hand holding very much appreciated.

MuffinTumMum Fri 10-May-13 11:38:59

Hi. Didn't want this to go unanswered. I used to live in HK with kids. How old are yours? Are you living in Central?
Off the tip of my head here are a few trips :-
Museums. Science museum was a hit with my kids
Sunday. Take aqua Luna junk to Stanley. Goes from pier 9. Book on website.
Or take the bus to Stanley from exchange square. Get a great view of the south side.
Go to one of the south side beaches, Big Wave etc if the weathers good.
Ocean PArk. Take advantage of going during the week. Weekends are busy.
Look up the teepee camping at Palm Beach on Lantau. Depending upon ages if your kids, they have great surf school there.
Take the ferry to Lama one day and have yourself a wander about and great seafood local lunch.

Go to Elements mall in Kowloon and go ice skating.

Find sassy mama website. Fab blog with all info on kid friendly activities and places to eat.

Enjoy. It's a great city but appreciate its hugely daunting for the first 6 months.

Good luck!

eastendfareast Fri 10-May-13 11:54:24

I live in HK and have been here2 years. Totally understand how you feel. Just heading out now but feel free to PM and I can give you the low down on what to do where to go etc. It will get easier, I promise!

bubbleandbubble Fri 10-May-13 12:16:04

Thank you both of you, it's so nice to know I'm not alone in finding it daunting!

My lot are 8,7,5 so big enough to do fun things with. We are up at Parkview for the next few weeks: great facilities but a bit removed.

Muffintum: sassy mama is fab, thank you. And we will do ocean park next week, great idea. We are off to Disney tomorrow for my 5 yr olds birthday. And we will do Lama one day too when the weather is not too bad. We are still a bit homesick for Sydney beaches so will head beachwards in a bit. Science museum looks amazing, definitely worth a trip too. That fills up a few days for me!

East, I will pm you, thank you.

eastendfareast Fri 10-May-13 13:24:17

Have a look also at The HK Hub - loads of stuff to help you get settled. I live 5 mins from you so will pm tomorrow.

Mummysaysno Sat 11-May-13 01:37:42

There's a book that really turned around my HK experience for me....'Hong Kong for Kids' by Cindy Miller Stephens. If you head down to Stanley (for example) today to hang out in the plaza (take the kids scooters if you've got them) then in Stanley market there is a book shop which sells it. Failing that dymocks anywhere will sell it.
Avoid repulse bay beach, as you'll be mobbed by mainland tourists and it can be really really threatening for children (and us!!). If you don't fancy central, there is also a dymocks at repulse bay shopping mall (I say 'repulse bay shopping' to taxi driver') there's a pacific coffee there where you could grab some brunch and a Jason's supermarket, which sells some things you may not find in fusion at park view.
Once I had that book I started planning our days out, and it made a huge difference. Honestly I can't recommend it enough!
Are the kids at school before September? If not, look out for summer camps as it'll be a long hot summer!! If you get club membership your club will run camps...also 'Colour my world' I like...they run art and drama type camps.
Feel free to pm me, more than happy to share info. There are some places that run slightly longer camps in the summer...lots are just for an hour of two which isn't great as you then have to wait there, and if you don't have a helper it's you and the siblings waiting.
It's v normal to think wtf when you first get here.
Anyway, please do pm if you'd like, v happy to reply!!!
Hope this helps...my 8 year old is talking to me the entire time so finding it hard to concentrate!!!!smile

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sat 11-May-13 04:34:39

Hi There,

I used to live Parkview. Its is a bit like the "shinning" at the moment isn't it? Its that time of year when its always in the mist….
Its actually a great location for easy access both to the south side beaches and to head back into central/causeway bay.
the main pool is open now no? Its a good place to meet other families, although most kids are still in school all day.Usually the playground/playroom fill up after 3:30 so make the most of the mornings to go around town and just hang by in the afternoon, soon enough they'll have lots of friends.

They run a decent tennis program every afternoon. Find the coaches (Matt or Jon), they are Ozzies. Very friendly, they'll introduce the kids to others the same age. If you play too, they organise a nice ladies social (even for begineers). A nice bunch.

Its worth calling Kellet and getting the DC into an after school activity. Am sure they also run holiday camps. Might be a nice way to get the children into the mood before they start.
ESF schools also run all sorts of sports camps. You can join in anytime and pay pro-rata for the rest of the term.
Open to non ESF kids and they run lots of classes out of Bradbury & South Island school which are very near you.

If your DC like Basketball, HKIS runs a great junior weekend league. Its the tail end of the competition now but might be worth getting on board for next year.

Biiiig Rugby community too if you are into that.

Second the surf camps in Lantau & if you are keen on sailing, contact the sailing club on middle island (repulse Bay). Kids classes open to non members.

For your little one, I would look into the summer camps of the Woodlands group of schools. They usually have a fair amount of new families due to the fact that they are a "holding" school for the reception/year1 age group until they get into the "bigger schools".

Don't worry too much about the long summer. The pool and gardens in Parkview will be full of mums and kids (apart from the French who usually leave for the whole 2 months).

There are a couple of Facebook groups which you might find very very useful (Hong Kong mums and Southside mums). I'm not sure wether you have to be invited to join? try and PM me if you cant access.

Caulkhead Sun 12-May-13 10:59:08

I'm really interested to read your post, we've a possible move to HK coming off soon - at present we are deciding whether to stay in Dubai or move to HK. Have pets and two DDs in secondary school Very torn about staying put and enjoying the familiar, or casting further afield for a new adventure. We have a lot of pets - 2 dogs, 2 cats, would you bring them too? If so, where could you live...

eastendfareast Sun 12-May-13 11:06:52

Pets are very common and normal in HK. People love dogs and they are everywhere. The only thing is that houses/apartments with outside space are very expensive HK$100k plus on HK island but the majority of people with pets live in small apartments and the animals have to get used to that.

With older children schooling isn't such an issue as the waiting list pressure is more acute for 4,5,6 year olds than older kids

Lifestyle in HK can be fantastic for a family especially with a helper at home, great public transport, lots of amazing bars and restaurants and easy trips to other countries in the region.

We came for 2 years,have passed that and aren't going anywhere for the foreseeable future - life is too easy to leave!

Happy to answer pm's if you have any specific questions.

bubbleandbubble Sun 12-May-13 13:16:43

Thank you everyone, you have made me feel heaps better and I now have a very long list of activities to keep us occupied, and out of the mist up here! We are actually going back to the UK for 2 months over the summer, as we haven't been back for 2 years, so that will help. And we have a meeting at Kellett on Wed so I can ask there too.

Two more questions - what do you use for headlice here and where should I look for it? I tried Watsons today and got a very snooty look - and no treatment! And where should I look for mid range furniture? I seem to remember there is a big mall somewhere, which one is it?

Caulkhead - I hope I haven't put you off moving here, everyone seems to rave about it, I think its just the settling in phase which feels so hard, as it does anywhere. And I am missing the Sydney lifestyle -sunshine and kids to the beach and job done!

eastendfareast Sun 12-May-13 15:23:32

Can't answer about head lice although there is a great chemist called Famda in central - think on des veoux rd - check on google - you can get pretty much anything over the counter.

Horizon plaza in ap lei chau is great for furniture-28 floors of shopping! There are some great places in Wong chuk hang too - Mirth and Attic lifestyle

Also go onto FB and join Hong Kong Moms - amazing group with the answers to anything you could ever wish to know - very active so you'll always get an answer.

HTH

MasterOfTheYoniverse Mon 13-May-13 01:36:03

Horizon plaza, definitely, all under one roof.
There's a big chilrens shop called bumps to babes there. They stock all sorts of natural/organic skincare for babies and they might have natural products for head lice.
The watsons in pacific place will have over the counter regular products and they generally speak goid english.

For curtains, better shop around a bit on queens road east.

Make a habit of picking up a copy of "the list". A free monthly guide with lots of info/contacts.
They do a theme each month with everything you need to know about " food", " health", "the great outdoors", etc.... You can also find it online.

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